My fellow Praxis Fall 2014 participants and I had our closing seminar at the Thiel Summit last weekend in San Francisco with hundreds of visionary young entrepreneurs. It was a hugely inspiring event to be apart of and was a cause for reflection on the past year.
This experience brought us all quite a heaping plate full of personal challenges — some of them definitely big enough to warrant an occasional breakdown or cookie-eating massacre — but each struggle or failure over the past 10 months has been beyond worth it. We all feel incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity to buck norms in education and live life according to our own standards.
Many lessons have been learned along the way (perhaps most notable: how to spell “entrepreneurial”), so here are a few:
1. Get sh*t done.
One simple, but important piece of advice that the Praxis team tries to instill in each of us is to develop a reputation as someone who just “gets sh*t done.” Even if you are lacking direction or a sure-fire plan for success, just do good work and build something along the way.
However, you can’t overlook the fact that there will be days where it feels utterly impossible to get sh*t done. Where it feels like all the forces in the universe are conspiring against you to prevent you from doing anything other than glancing half-heartedly at your inbox of unread emails with one eye closed first thing in the morning.
You can’t let this feeling consume you, because unfortunately, no one cares if you achieve what you want in life. You’re the one who has to care. You render any dream or idea completely useless if you don’t have the work ethic and the follow-through to make it happen.
2. Things take time.
No matter how competent, resilient, hard-working, or painstakingly diligent you are, life will always be like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver. Things take time. This is NOT an excuse to lay idling by and say, “Well, I’m young, so it’s okay that I’m letting life pass me by while I hide under my food-stained comforter!” That’s not okay. We all have a responsibility to get out of bed each morning and put our best foot forward.
However, don’t be too hard on yourself the times you do fail. You live, you try again, and you don’t need to have all the answers right away. Be open and willing to fail. Failure can be a catalyst for profound reinvention and you don’t have time to be afraid of it.
3. You need other people.
No one can do life alone. You will always need other people in everything that you do. Either society or own neurosis has convinced us that we can’t ask others for help or advice, and it is all too easy to fall victim to this vortex of negative thinking. You can try to make it by on your own or to be the smartest one in the room, but truly successful people are the ones who can recognize that they didn’t get there alone.
Praxis is a team of sincere, insightful, and knowledgeable mentors and I am eternally grateful to them for their relentless passion and commitment to helping us achieve our own individual goals. They provide an invaluable network of opportunity that I feel lucky to have been apart of. I can’t wait to see them build the future.
Additional thanks from the Fall 2014 Class:
“Throughout the incredible challenges of the program, I have grown more than I thought was possible and developed the strength to create the life I want to live. Isaac and TK have been the best mentors I could ask for, and the other participants have become lifelong friends. I’m proud to be a part of such a revolutionary approach to education.”
“The opportunity to build an education on my own terms has made me more alive to life and learning. Now I have a new appreciation for the adventure that they can be, and I’ve been equipped to pursue and create them relentlessly.”
“Anyone can take a gap year or do an internship, but participating in Praxis is truly unique because of the people who make up the program. Determined, smart, hardworking, and caring individuals lead the participants through challenging coursework and guide them through the difficulties of working in the real world. I will forever be grateful for my Praxis experience and the people who made it possible.”
Onward and upward!